Banagher secure Division One status as Dungiven face further play-offs
Division One Relegation Play-Off
Banagher 1-9 Dungiven 0-9.
Dungiven failed to compete a hat trick of victories over Banagher when they fell to a surprise defeat at Ballerin on Sunday afternoon as a late goal from substitute Callum O’Kane completed a surprise but deserved win for the St. Mary’s.
After a scrappy first half in which both teams were poor in front of the posts, the second developed into an exciting end to end encounter with Banagher's victory largely due to their ability to kick long range points. Dungiven, on the other hand, tried to work the ball in and spilled possession in the slippery conditions. Their attack was poor and they were over dependent on frees to keep in touch with the more experienced Banagher.
Just two of Dungiven’s nine points came from play and one of those came courtesy of a sub. Just two of the Banagher scores came from placed balls. Banagher had to cope with 14 players on two occasions. Darragh McCloskey got a black card in the 22nd minute and returned two minutes into the second half. Then a high tackle on Pauric McCloskey in the 50th minute saw him complete the three colours with John Joe Cleary flashing yellow and red. In effect the winners played 20 minutes with a player less.
It was Dungiven who looked the better team in the early stages with frees by Conor Murphy and Richie Mullan either side of a Tiernan Moore point. Murphy hit a wonderful point from play
but Mark Lynch countered with a trademark point.
Just before the water break Richie Mullan punished a foul on Murphy for a 0-3 to 0-2 lead. Banagher came more into the game after the break but some wayward shooting let them down
until Ruairi Quirk at the end of the first half and Conor Feeney at the start of the second tied the game up t 0-4 each. Banagher were more direct now and a typical Mark Lynch point was followed by an equally fine score to put the Feeny men 0-6 to 0-4 in front.
Conor Murphy from a free gave Dungiven their first score for 21 minutes and after the second water break Martin Burke levelled from a free. In the 49th minute Conor Murphy, with a monstrous free, put the St. Canice’s back in front but Banagher were not going to fold after Conor Kelly thumped over from 50m.
One would have expected the more senior Banagher players to struggle in the exciting closing stages but when Banagher play Dungiven the legs seem to have more spring in them. Five
minutes from the end Peter Hagan continued Banagher’s long range shooting as he tied the game up at 0-8 each.
Banagher’s popular goalie Darrel McDermott then did a Rory Beggan, jogging a full 60m to hit a free, it dropped in dangerously with Dungiven keeper Kevin Farren just managing
to tip the ball over the bar.
As Dungiven pushed forward they left a huge gap at the back, a long ball in by Hagan found Tienan Moore. Instead of trying the impossible, Moore spotted the unmarked Callum O’Kane and he palmed the ball into the net.
Dungiven’s last score came from a Martin Burke free but it was too little, too late. Banagher move to Division 1A while Dungiven face two further play-off games. On this performance they need to improve.
Banagher: Darrell McDermott(0-1f), Cahir McGilligan, Darragh McCloskey, Keelan O’Kane, Tiernan McCloskey, Oisin McCloskey, Jack Lynch, Gavin O’Neil(0-1), Fintan McGilligan, Conor Feeney(0-1), Ciaran Lynch, Peter Hagan (0-1), Ruairi Quirk(0-1), Mark lynch (0-2,1f), Tiernan Moore (0-2). (Subs) Callum O’Kane (1-0), Eoin Og Feeney.
Dungiven: Kevin Farren, Niall McNicholl, Stiofan Tracey, Eoin McKeever, Darragh McGillign, Kevin Johnston, Shea McKeever, Sean McKeever, Patrick O’Kane, Tomas Brady, Martin Burke(0-2f), Cahir Higgins, Conor Murphy(0-4,3f), Dara McKeever, Richie Mullan (0-2f). (Subs) Conor Kelly(0-1), Ciaran Mackle, Pauric McNicholl,
Referee: J J Cleary (Castledawson).